SF Bay Area police agencies respond following release of Tyre Nichols traffic stop video
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Authorities on Friday released police video that shows five Memphis officers beating Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man, whose death resulted in murder charges and provoked outrage at the country's latest instance of police brutality. Family members have pleaded for any protests to remain peaceful.
LATEST: Memphis police release video of Tyre Nichols traffic stop
The officers, all of whom are Black, were charged Thursday in the killing of Nichols, a motorist who died three days after a Jan. 7 confrontation with the officers during a traffic stop.
Peaceful demonstrations are underway in Memphis, Washington DC and Philadelphia.
A small, also peaceful, demonstration took place in San Francisco early Friday evening.
Bay Area police and businesses are on alert following the release of the video.
San Francisco police Chief William Scott posted a video responding to the release of the bodycam video. In the tweet that accompanied the video he wrote, "What I and everyone else saw on the video images reflects a disregard for the sanctity of human life and is the antithesis of the oath, we as law enforcement professionals, were all sworn to uphold." Go here for his full statement and a link to the video.
In a statement, the Oakland Police Department denounced the video. They said, in part: "The women and men of the Oakland Police Department are deeply troubled and disturbed by the released video involving Tyre Nichols and members of the Memphis Police Department. We stand with our community in denouncing this incident and all incidents of police brutality. Those who engage in this type of behavior have no place in our profession."
The Santa Clara County Police Chiefs' Association also released a statement saying, in part, that they were "deeply troubled by the horrific death of Mr. Tyre Nichols at the hands of five ex-Memphis Police Officers. Our hearts go out to the Nichols family as they mourn the loss of their loved one, and the law enforcement community whose reputation has once again been tarnished by a select few who failed to honor the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics."
Several police groups, including one from San Francisco, joined together to release a statement:
"The Los Angeles Police Protective League, San Francisco Police Officers Association, San Jose Police Officers' Association, and the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers issued the following statement regarding the horrific killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennesse.
The killing of Tyre Nichols at the hands of the five cowardly former Memphis police officers is repugnant and the complete antithesis of how honorable law enforcement professionals conduct themselves every day. These accused individuals were fired, charged with murder and other crimes, arrested, fingerprinted, photographed and jailed, just like any other suspected criminal. Their brutalization of Mr. Nichols was horrific and for his family to have to view the video of Tyre suffering through those evil acts is unfathomable. We pray that they find the strength to deal with this unmitigated loss.
Our unions renew our pledge to work with Congress to enact national policing standards that mirror the standards in place in Los Angeles, San Jose, San Francisco, and Hawaii and require rigorous ongoing training on the duty to intervene, duty to render aid, de-escalation, use of force and other initiatives that will improve outcomes between law enforcement professionals and the communities we serve. We encourage those interested in actually doing something to go to www.investinpolicing.com."
Fremont police Chief Sean Washington issued a statement saying, in part, "I do not have all the facts of this incident; however, based on what is captured on video and details provided by Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn Davis, I am compelled to speak up and speak out against these actions and behavior. I firmly believe the officers' actions were inconsistent with the core values of law enforcement and did not align with our duty to serve our community professionally, lawfully, and with dignity and respect."
RELATED: Memphis police chief says video of Tyre Nichols' traffic stop left her 'horrified,' 'disgusted'
In regards to the officers, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy told a news conference that although each played different roles in the killing, "they are all responsible."
Nichols' family members and their lawyers said the footage shows officers savagely beating the 29-year-old FedEx worker for three minutes in an assault that the legal team likened to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.
"This young man, by definition of the law in this state, was terrorized. Not by one, not by two, but by five officers who we now know ... acted in concert with each other," said attorney Antonio Romanucci, who represents Nichols' family.
RELATED: Tyre Nichols case will remind people of Rodney King, Ben Crump says
The officers "acted together ... to inflict harm, terrorism, oppression of liberty, oppression of constitutional rights, which led to murder," Romanucci said.
Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis described the officers' actions as "heinous, reckless and inhumane," and said that her department has been unable to substantiate the reckless driving allegation that prompted the stop.
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The Associated Press contributed this report.
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